Revista del Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Respiratorias
Print version ISSN 0187-7585
ESCOBAR ARRIAGA, Elizabeth; PEREZ BAUTISTA, Oliver; RAMIREZ VENEGAS, Alejandra and SANSORES, Raúl H.. Mesencephalic dopaminergic tract lesions in tobacco addiction behavior: A review of mechanisms of disease and an hypothesis. Rev. Inst. Nal. Enf. Resp. Mex. [online]. 2007, vol.20, n.1, pp.56-63. ISSN 0187-7585.
Tobacco use, a well known cause of death, represents a preventable disease related to many health problems. Epidemiológical studies estimate a prevalence of 1,100 million tobacco dependent people. Nicotine addiction depends on multiple factors; studies have reported that the central nervous system plays an important role through the stimulation of neuronal dopaminergic nicotine receptors. The main dopamine synthesis sites are located in the neurons of the substantia nigra and the ventral tegmental area of the mesencephalus, which are projected towards the basal ganglia and accumbens nuclei. In vivo studies suggest that the dopaminergic cistern is highly implicated in nicotine dependence, showing that the neurotoxic lesions of the mesolimbic system or the systemic administration of nicotine receptor blockers reduce the quantity of nicotine administered. Nevertheless, these studies have been carried out in animal models; thus, such findings can not be confirmed in humans due to methodological limitations (i.e. it is unethical to produce toxic or vascular damage of the mesencephalic dopaminergic tracts). It could be possible to carry out such a study in patients with mesencephalic injuries secondary to stroke.
Keywords : Addiction; dopamine; dependence; mesencephalus; nicotine; tobacco use.